Κreatopita (Κρεατοπιτα): Greek Freighter Meat Pie


Allow me one more post about non-Japanese food!
March has been a long difficult cold month, with the death of my father, an aunt, and a sister-in-law being diagnosed with a serious disease. There are complications settling the estate, which may lead to conflicts among us siblings, but it was very good to have been able to gather together over several meals. I’ve been sleeping more than half the days away, perhaps trying to avoid my feelings. Thanks to Mr. Tess for taking charge of so many meals these past few weeks! And thanks to my internet friends for messages of sympathy and encouragement!
This recipe is relatively easy to prepare for guests, and can be served hot or at room temperature. (I used a very old cookbook, but looking around the web, I noticed a few recipes for this dish which added a small amount of cinnamon: an idea that is very appealing.)
Greek Freighter Meat Pie
Κreatopita (Κρεατοπιτα)

from The Complete Greek Cookbook
by Theresa Karas Yianilos
Avenel Books, New York, 1970, Library of Congress 74-79256
page 151
serves 4


  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked meat, chopped (beef, lamb, veal, or pork)
    • or 1 pound ground or chopped raw meat
  • 1 cup of cooked rice or diced potatoes
  • ½ cup fresh fresh mint and oregono
    • or 1 teaspoon spearmint flakes
    • 1 teaspoon marjoram

  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • ½ cup pine nuts or walnuts, chopped


  • ½ pound frozen filo dough
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
Heat oil and fry onions until soft. If using raw meat and potatoes, brown for 5 minutes and add 1 cup of hot water or 2 cups if using raw rice. Add the herbs and seasonings. Cover and cook for 20 minutes until meat is cooked and potatoes or rice are soft. Remove from heat. Mix in the cheese, egg, and nuts.
Melt butter and oil in a small pan. Oil a square or rectangular baking pan (about 70 to 80-square-inches??). Layer half of the sheets of filo, brushing the butter-oil on each sheet. Spread the meat filling. Layer the the remaining filo sheets, oiling between each. Tuck the top layers of filo down the edges of your pan.
Bake at 350°F for 1 hour.

11 thoughts on “Κreatopita (Κρεατοπιτα): Greek Freighter Meat Pie

    • Good energy is great! Thank you.

      Life might be a journey through time, but it is also the encounters we have in space, in the world, what we experience. In that, I feel blessed with this move to a new place, a wonderful house, loving husband, siblings…

      I have liked this Emily Dickinson poem for several years:

      Forever – is composed of Nows –
      ‘Tis not a different time –
      Except for Infiniteness –
      And Latitude of Home –

      From this – experienced Here –
      Remove the Dates – to These –
      Let Months dissolve in further Months –
      And Years – exhale in Years –

      Without Debate – or Pause –
      Or Celebrated Days –
      No different Our Years would be
      From Anno Dominies –

      From Thornton Wilder’s Our Town:

      (emily) Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?–every, every minute?

  1. Sleeping can be a healthy way for a mind to wrap around many sudden changes. Enjoy your rest as much as you can, you probably need it. Keep up the courage and patience. I wish you well.

    And as always, I love the strong visual way you present your ingredients. Thats a feature I like the best in a cookbook. I think you probably do the same thing as I? Get out all ingredients pre measured into little bowls and such, before I start to cook.

    • Yes, the cooking goes much better when I get all the ingredients out and measured in one place. I like to use paper plates both for arranging the food in the order it’s added, and for giving an idea of how much, how big, the food is. Paper plates also help to avoid cross- contamination of meat and vegetables, foods which will be cooked and things which will be lightly cooked or raw. I’ll admit though that I’m not always so organized as to take a photo…

      Sleep, with no dreams can be restful. Dreams with expressions of (unconscious or unacknowledged) anger, love, fear, misunderstandings, can be informative. Healing?

  2. Oh Tess – my heart goes out to you. What a difficult year this has been. It’s true – sleeping is a sort of medicine. So sleep, be gentle with yourself. Know that we miss you when you are not around but understand why. Big hug for you. Mr Tess is a sweet good man – he will see you through this. Love C x
    Oh and this pie looks wonderful!

  3. Tess this recipe made me so hungry it sent me to my own bookshelves, (we haven’t a kitchen at the moment so books and this blog are virtual food). Leafing through Kefa’s Kitchen I found Arni Kleftiko and wondered if it were related to your beautiful pie. The ingredients cross over some – chopped lamb, potatoes, filo, cheese although the herbs vary – she uses oregano and her choice of cheese is keflotiri. But is was her note on “stolen meat” which struck a chord referring to “….the Greek freedom fighters hiding in the mountains…baking their meat wrapped in its own hide and buried beneath the campfire so that the smell wouldn’t give them away.”

    • How is the work on your kitchen coming along? That is a project that disrupts your life: cooking and eating is central to one’s outlook on life.

      Paula Wolfert has several versions of meat pies, but in the book I have she has many more pies with cheese and herbs/greens. As a result, she has included several sections about the various types of cheese available in various regions of the Eastern Mediterranean.

      But the book I used was published in the 70’s, written by a second generation immigrant. Perhaps the feta she calls for was the only sort of Greek cheese she had access to? Using it was a trip down memory lane: a book I used when we were first married.

      I like the story about “stolen meat.” Seems doubtful that there were women rolling out filo dough around the campfires, though. I don’t know much about modern Greek history, but the town I live in now was named after a very brave general who fought valiantly during the War for Independence:
      Demetrious Ypsilantis.
      The link has a picture of the phallic watertower that our town is famous for.

      As we drove past it one day, Mr. Tess saw the blue and white Greek flag that flies there and wondered why they were flying a Finnish flag. LOL

  4. Tess the kitchen has turned into a sort of albatross. We have been eight weeks camping in the shell and face another eight before we even have cabinets….but how can I complain with all the tragedy of late — yours, Japan, Libya…no kitchen is a mild inconvenience.

    Still I can’t take my eyes off that pie – as to the filo crust – you are right – no women to roll out leaves of fine pastry in the mountain hide-away. According to my book, the filo in the modern version represents the hide that the game was cooked in. I should have continued the quotation.

    Oh Tess I had to laugh when I followed your link to the water tower. I wonder if the architect stood back from the finished work and blushed. I read with interest about your town though. What an interesting place you live in!

    On the Finnish flag – methinks Mr Tess is a bit of a wag. (-;

    • Carolyn,
      I’d love to see some pictures of your kitchen re-model! It would certainly make me feel good about not being able to afford re-doing my Gingko House kitchen! Too many memories here about when we built the kitchen in the old place. Blue splotchy formica? Old cabinets? Ugly floor? No, remind me how difficult it is to re-fit a kitchen: heart of the home!
      My grief or guilt or regrets about my father are not a tragedy. It, my reaction, is unexpected. But not a tragedy—only a part of life. and death, the cycle. Still, I did not expect this “breath-knocked-out” mood I am experiencing.
      The horrible things happening in our world, many tragedies.

      Funny water tower! I don’t think it is used anymore, for water…

      love love Tess

  5. Tess, I am so sorry for everything that happened to you and your family this past month. Not even sure what to say, words do fail me.

    I send you a warm hug, and wish you find comfort with your loved ones and all the wonderful thing you do have in your life

    • Hey SallyBR!
      Thank you for the hug.
      I’ve sort of lost touch! with the cookstalk people. because it’s the circle of life, the seasons, the years, the experiences we must all encounter…

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